Feeding tubes worsen pressure ulcers in elderly dementia patients, study suggests

Share this article:

New research suggests that feeding tubes can cause or worsen pressure ulcers in elderly dementia patients — a finding that contradicts the commonly held belief that feeding tubes promote healing.

In analyzing Medicare claims data for thousands of beneficiaries with dementia, BrownUniversity researchers found that individuals with a percutaneous endoscopicgastric (PEG) feedingtube were 2.27 times more likely to develop a pressure ulcer than those without a feeding tube. Additionally, the risk of the patient developing a more severe, stage IV ulcer was 3.21 times higher for those with a feeding tube.

While the reasons aren't yet known, investigators theorized that feeding tubes can cause agitation in those with dementia and increase the risk of diarrhea.

“It provides solid evidence that there is a risk and that we need to discuss it,” lead author Joan Teno, M.D., said. “I'm hoping that people now can use this study to make better decisions in light of a patient's goals and values.”

The study was published May 14 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Share this article:

More in News

Also in the news for August 22, 2014

Iowa's nursing homes lost, on average, 41% of their employees each year from 2010-2012 ... Researchers identify proteins necessary in wound healing ... More than 40% percent of SSDI recipients take opioid pain relievers, study says.

CMS: Many skilled nursing providers have poor Medicare certification and recertification practices

CMS: Many skilled nursing providers have poor Medicare ...

The rate of improper Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities has increased largely due to issues with certification and recertification statements, according to a recently released government memorandum. The Centers ...

NY nursing home agrees to $2.2 million settlement in case of false documentation

NY nursing home agrees to $2.2 million settlement ...

Nursing home operator Ralex Services Inc. has agreed to a $2.2 million settlement in a whistleblower case involving forged documents at a facility in New Rochelle, New York.